This has already been a huge year for Pokémon. We’ve celebrated the franchise’s 20th anniversary with the long-awaited release of the original Game Boy titles on the Nintendo eShop, experienced a new take on Pokémon battles in Pokkén Tournament, and even been treated to news of the series’ next evolution–Pokémon Sun and Moon, to be released later this year.
But let’s not forget that exciting things have also been happening on the tabletop end. Earlier this year the Pokémon TCG received a new expansion in the form of BREAKpoint. It builds upon the existing Mega Evolution and Pokémon-EX mechanics, and even adds a new twist with its titular BREAK Evolution.
BREAK Pokémon retain all the previous Attacks and Abilities of their pre-evolved state (not to mention any Weaknesses/Resistances and Retreat costs), but they also gain things like bonus Attacks or Abilities and extra HP. Perhaps just as importantly, they look crazy cool!
BREAKpoint introduces 5 of these new BREAK cards as well as 11 new Pokémon-EX cards (with 2 of those being Mega Evolutions). Of course, this expansion also arrived with the traditional pair of theme decks.
Wave Slasher features top-level fighter Greninja (in a nice exclusive Holofoil) backed up by Slowking (its non-Holofoil exclusive) with a hybrid Water/Grass energy setup. There’s also a Golduck in the mix, which certainly added to its appeal in my house.
Of all its Trainer cards, the most remarkable is easily the Fighting Fury Belt. When attached, this handy accessory adds 40 more HP to a Basic Pokémon, and pairs that with an extra 10 points of attack damage to your opponent’s Active creature. This makes it a great way to keep your Basics alive (and effective) long enough to draw an appropriate Stage 1 evolution.
Wave Slasher is set against the Electric Eye theme deck, a Lightning/Psychic deck featuring Luxray and Electivire. The kids and I weren’t as enthused about this one, though the Holofoil Luxray certainly made a nice addition to our card collection. Electric Eye also includes a Fighting Fury Belt, and, if you can use it to buff your Shinx long enough to draw a Luxio and set up your final evolution, the deck’s pair of high-attack Luxray cards can certainly make short work of an opponent.
The BREAK cards aren’t the only big part of this expansion; it’s also thematically tied to the great Shiny Gyarados. (I have, for the record, been a proud member of Team Gyarados since I first discovered its many charms back in Pokémon Blue.) While the theme decks don’t exactly go out of their way to include either of these elements, we did have a stroke of good luck while opening a couple-dozen booster packs.
Notable draws included two different Shiny Gyarados-EX cards, not to mention the M-Gyarados-EX (with a massive 240 HP) and his turn-extending Gyarados Spirit Link Trainer card. We also managed to grab both the famed Trevenant BREAK–its Silent Fear lets you put 3 damage counters on each of your opponent’s Pokémon–and the Golduck BREAK–it has no additional attacks, but its Hyper Transfer Ability enables you to move basic Energy around among Pokémon to your very heart’s content during your turn.
Hot on the heels of this expansion came the new Triple Power Tins. Collectible Pokémon tins like these have all but replaced traditional deck boxes in our house, and these new additions were met with no small amount of excitement.
As the name implies, each tin boasts one of the three featured Holofoil Pokémon-EX cards: Mewtwo-EX, Machamp-EX, and yet another exquisite Shiny Gyarados-EX for my atrocious army of the deep. In addition to an unlock code for a special deck to use in the TCG Online, each also comes with 4 booster packs–and again we seemed to have the proverbial luck of the draw.
My daughters Machamp-EX pack also included an M-Gardevoir-EX, which she was nice enough to trade to her brother–Gardevoir’s his favorite–for a Hawlucha-EX to add to her own growing collection. Meanwhile, my Gyarados-EX tin also yielded a Heracross-EX and the Gardevoir’s Spirit Link Trainer card (which, of course, I traded to the boy as well). We even managed to score another pair of Fighting Fury Belt cards, which, as you can imagine, we’re already working into our newly retooled decks.
The BREAKpoint theme decks, Wave Slasher and Electric Eye, retail for $12.99 each and offer a solid combination of balance and value to new or returning players. The Triple Power Tins sport a higher MSRP ($19.99 each) and are obviously aimed at seasoned players looking to supplement existing Pokémon TCG decks, but they’re the perfect go-to gift for any Pokémon fan.
Review materials provided by: The Pokémon Company International